STEM Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some common questions that our visitors usually ask. If you still can't find a proper answer to your inquiry, please don't hesitate to contact us.
1. What is STEM?
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, but it is much more than a sum of its parts. It is an approach to learning that integrates ALL content areas and promotes high levels of critical and creative thinking. Teaching strategies emphasize student inquiry, projects, and community partnerships. Students are challenged to think creatively about real-world topics, to solve projects independently, collaborate and to innovate.
2. Why the focus on STEM?
The United States wants to increase American students’ abilities and interests in these key areas so our students are college and career ready for the 21st century.
3. How do I know if this STEM school is “right” for my child?
If you believe your child learns best by:
- sharing thoughts, questions, ideas, and solutions that lead to the completion of high-quality products
- working together to reach a goal – putting talent, expertise, and abilities to work
- looking at problems in a new way, linking learning across subjects and disciplines
- trying new approaches to get things done equals innovation and invention
- focusing on their natural curiosity and inquisitiveness
- using self-monitoring skills and being capable of working independently
- persevering to revise work in order to demonstrate mastery
Then STEM Education might be right for your child.
However, there are no predetermined criteria for enrollment, just an open mind and a willingness to learn.
4. Will the unified arts still be part of my child’s school day?
Yes. Music, art, and physical education are essential to the basic education of all students.
5. I have heard this is a career-focused school. Aren’t K-5 students too young to decide what they want to be when they grow up?
This is an educational choice made by parents in the best interest of their children. Enrolling in a STEM Education is not a decision to become an engineer or a scientist. But a child who likes science might be more interested in other core lessons if they are presented with ties to science topics. And a child who might think, “I’m not good at science and math,” might discover new joy in these subjects through the hands-on approach of STEM. This program is not about having students make a career decision. The program is about making learning relevant. As students learn about core content, they will be exposed to how this applies to the “real world.” Who does this type of work? Where is it found? Why is it important?
6. Is STEM education meant only for high ability students?
No. Students of all learning abilities, including children with disabilities, will benefit from the STEM program. Studies show hands-on learning is beneficial to children who have been disengaged (bored) with school. STEM students come from all backgrounds and abilities.
7. Once a child is accepted into the program is it necessary to “reapply” each year?
No. The only need is to complete the updated paperwork each year.
8. Will before/after school childcare be provided for my child?
Yes, at his/her home school of residence. Pleasant Valley Elementary’s Extended Day Care can only accommodate those children whose home school by residency is Pleasant Valley.
9. Are siblings of the STEM School students given priority placement?
Yes. Priority placement is available to family enrollment.
10. Will transportation be provided for STEM students?
Transportation will be provided based on current board policy: A student must live more than two miles from Pleasant Valley Elementary. If that is the case, a bus will either pick up the child at a designated corner stop or at his/her home school.
11. What if I enroll my child at the STEM School but he/she doesn’t like it?
We request that each student honors his/her choice for at least one academic year.
12. What procedures will be followed if a child is on the waiting list for the School of Choice Program?
As open seats occur during the enrollment period, seats will be filled utilizing the waiting list. If students on the waiting list opt not to transfer when notified of an opening, they will be removed from the list and space will be offered to the next student on the list. Those students remaining on the list at the end of the enrollment period will retain their place on the waiting list for the next school year.